Type Position, Circle, Progressive
Level Level 2 Beginner
Other Names Sweetheart, Wrap, Cradle
Comes From Open Position, Belt Loop, Sliding Door, Sliding Door Dip, Loop
Leads To The Lean, Spin Out, Triple Hip Combo, Outside Turn (half-turn variation), Cuddle Dip, Fall Through Dip, Straight Jacket Twist, Can Opener, Backflip,
The Cuddle is a variation on the Inside Turn with both hands connected. The leader turns the follow to wrap her up in his arms. This is a very versatile move! Learn the basic steps for it below, then check out the variations for ways to customize your dance.
- Start in Butterfly open position.
- Bring your left arm up over the follow’s head, and slide your right hand to the right to guide them into the spin. Keep holding their hands though the spin–left hand high, right hand low.
- Footwork throughout the move is generally L R L, stepping in place with a quarter turn counter-clockwise.
- Bring both arms down to waist-level with your follow on your right, standing slightly ahead of you (rather than in-line, as this means something else). As a visual aide, your right toe will be just beside your follow’s left heel.
- From here you may launch any number of moves. See above for ideas.
- Step R L R into the spin.
- Your lead’s arm position and body position will tell you how far to go and where to wind up. In the regular Cuddle, you will be slightly ahead of the lead with your left heel just outside of his right toe.
- In any of the variations or moves that come from a Cuddle, your orientation to the lead will tell you what to expect.
- The lead is responsible for being precise about where he wants the follow to end up. Doing so will ensure that the move he wants to have happen, happens. There are many variations from the Cuddle that include minor differences and you want to be able to control those variables when you learn them later down the road.
- The follow’s job after getting into the cuddle is to match the lead’s movement. Watch and more importantly feel so you know whether to move slow or fast, smooth or rhythmically, around or in place.
- Cuddle Circle: Walk in a circle stepping on each half beat “one and two and three and…” or slowly on the big beat “one, two, three…”
- Progressive Cuddle: Walk forward with the basic step rhythm to progress around the dance floor. The footwork doesn’t ever change, so side-by-side it will resemble a Three-Legged Race if you’re both on the correct foot.
- If you do end up on the wrong foot, just pretend you meant to do it, then add an extra “quick-quick” to get back in time.
The lead can put himself into cuddle, especially with The Cuddle Spin.
- From Butterfly Open Position, bring your left hand low, right hand high and with a 90-degree turn away from your partner, step through to the right.
- From the Belt Loop, keep holding their hand in back, and wrap your right arm in front to signal that you want their other hand when they arrive at your side.
Orientation & Combos
- Front Orientation: Put the follow directly in front of you by leaving your low arm as a barrier for her to stop by.
- Bend your knees and sway your hips
- Step in rhythm together, side to side
- Cuddle Combo: Bring your arms up and around the other way to undo it and repeat the cuddle on the left.
- Cuddle Swap:
- #1 The lead walks to the other side of the follow. This works with stationary, circle, and progressive cuddles. Ideal for slow dancing.
- #2 (More advanced, and fun version of the above) The lead will take a smaller step to the other side and rotate slightly clockwise, while gently tugging the follow to the opposite side. This works with circle and progressive cuddles–anything with stored momentum.
- Cuddle Lean Combo: Do the cuddle on the right, then the Lean, then switch to the other side and repeat.